On Friday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day no less, No mention of Jews in White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day tribute, and with no sense of irony, our Dear Leader Donald J. Trump announced his long-anticipated Muslim travel ban and an unconstitutional religious test for entry into the United States. Trump Bars Refugees and Citizens of 7 Muslim Countries:
President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.
In an executive order that he said was part of an extreme vetting plan to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists,” Mr. Trump also established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations: He ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims.
“We don’t want them here,” Mr. Trump said of Islamist terrorists during a signing ceremony at the Pentagon. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people.”
In an exercise of “alternative facts,” i.e., Trump lies to his Christian Right base of supporters, Trump explained to an interviewer for the Christian Broadcasting Network that:
Christians in Syria were “horribly treated” and alleged that under previous administrations, “if you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible.”
“I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them,” the president said.
In fact, the United States accepts tens of thousands of Christian refugees. According to the Pew Research Center, almost as many Christian refugees (37,521) were admitted as Muslim refugees (38,901) in the 2016 fiscal year.
The executive order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days and directs officials to determine additional screening ”to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”
The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Dear Leader’s order went into effect immediately. Banned From U.S.: ‘You Need to Go Back to Your Country’:
[T]he most immediate effect of President Trump’s executive order barring refugees from entering the United States and halting entry from seven predominantly Muslim countries could be quantified on a human scale: refugees and other immigrants from those seven countries, some on their way to the United States on Friday when Mr. Trump signed the order, who were no longer able to enter the United States. See, Refugees stopped at airports after Trump’s order.
Here are [just three examples] of their stories.
Fuad Shareef’s family, Iraq
Hearing of Mr. Trump’s plan to slam the door on Muslim immigrants this week, Mr. Shareef hurried his wife and three children onto a plane in the Iraqi city of Erbil in the early hours of Saturday. They had been cleared to resettle in Nashville — a new life that Mr. Shareef considered a great opportunity. After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mr. Shareef worked as a translator with American officials, and he received death threats. But after the Shareefs arrived in Cairo on Saturday, a check-in official spoke to Mr. Shareef.
“He said they had just received an email from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad,” Mr. Shareef said. “It said we could not get on the flight.”
Speaking by phone from an airport lounge, Mr. Shareef said he had sold the family home and car. His wife had given up her job. His two daughters, 10 and 17, had quit school. He had spent $5,000 on flights.
“I thought in America there are institutions, democracy,” he said. “This looks like a decision from a dictator. I don’t understand.”
“Donald Trump ruined my life,” he said.
Nada, a Yazidi woman from Iraq, was on her way to be reunited with her husband, Khalas, who lives in Washington. The two of them, their last names not released, were granted special immigrant visas to the United States as part of a program created to help thousands of Iraqis with ties to the United States, according to The New Yorker. Khalas, a former interpreter for the United States Army, was granted his visa in April. Nada’s visa was approved about a week ago, and her passport on Thursday.
She was turned away, however, when she arrived at the gate for her flight in Dubai, wrote Kirk W. Johnson, the founder and executive director of the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies. “The flight crew sent her back,” Khalas texted Mr. Johnson, “saying they got orders that no Iraqis with American visas should be boarded.”
Hameed Khalid Darweesh, Iraq
Mr. Darweesh, a husband and father of three who worked for the United States military in Iraq for about a decade, was detained after arriving at Kennedy Airport on Friday night. He was granted a special immigrant visa on Jan. 20. When he filed for it, he said he had been directly targeted because of his work for the United States as an interpreter, engineer and contractor.
Mr. Darweesh was released on Saturday after lawyers filed a writ of habeas corpus in federal court seeking freedom for him, as well as for another Iraqi detained at the airport. A.C.L.U. Complaint on Trump Immigration Order.
Speaking to reporters and some protesters, Protest Grows ‘Out of Nowhere’ at Kennedy Airport After Iraqis Are Detained, Mr. Darweesh called the United States the greatest nation in the world. He said he was thankful for the people who had worked on his behalf. “This is the humanity, this is the soul of America,” he said. “This is what pushed me to move, leave my country and come here.”
Let’s be clear: President Trump’s Muslim travel ban and religious test for entry into the United States is unconstitutional and a violation of U.S. immigration law.
David Bier explains, Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal:
[T]he order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin.
That decision came after a long and shameful history in this country of barring immigrants based on where they came from. Starting in the late 19th century, laws excluded all Chinese, almost all Japanese, then all Asians in the so-called Asiatic Barred Zone. Finally, in 1924, Congress created a comprehensive “national-origins system,” skewing immigration quotas to benefit Western Europeans and to exclude most Eastern Europeans, almost all Asians, and Africans.
Mr. Trump appears to want to reinstate a new type of Asiatic Barred Zone by executive order, but there is just one problem: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin, replacing the old prejudicial system and giving each country an equal shot at the quotas. In signing the new law, President Lyndon B. Johnson said that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Trump asserts that he still has the power to discriminate, pointing to a 1952 law that allows the president the ability to “suspend the entry” of “any class of aliens” that he finds are detrimental to the interest of the United States.
But the president ignores the fact that Congress then restricted this power in 1965, stating plainly that no person could be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.” The only exceptions are those provided for by Congress (such as the preference for Cuban asylum seekers).
When Congress passed the 1965 law, it wished to protect not just immigrants, but also American citizens, who should have the right to sponsor their family members or to marry a foreign-born spouse without being subject to pointless discrimination.
Mr. Trump may want to revive discrimination based on national origin by asserting a distinction between “the issuance of a visa” and the “entry” of the immigrant. But this is nonsense. Immigrants cannot legally be issued a visa if they are barred from entry. Thus, all orders under the 1952 law apply equally to entry and visa issuance, as his executive order acknowledges.
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The 1965 law does not ban discrimination based on religion — which was Mr. Trump’s original proposal.
This is because the First Amendment’s religious liberty clause, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” was self-evident. Congress felt no need to expressly include anti-discrimination language in the 1965 law for religion because it was already in the first clause of the First Amendment. No one has questioned this — until now.
This is why federal district court judges in New York quickly granted the ACLU’s habeus corpus motion and issued a temporary restraining order. Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide:
A federal judge in Brooklyn came to the aid of scores of refugees and others who were trapped at airports across the United States on Saturday after an executive order signed by President Trump, which sought to keep many foreigners from entering the country, led to chaotic scenes across the globe.
The judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions. [This will come at a later hearing.]
The high-stakes legal case played out on Saturday amid global turmoil, as the executive order signed by the president slammed shut the borders of the United States for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Massachusetts, a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio and countless others across the world.
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Mr. Trump — in office just a week — found himself accused of constitutional and legal overreach by two Iraqi immigrants, defended by the American Civil Liberties Union. Meanwhile, large crowds of protesters turned out at airports around the country to denounce Mr. Trump’s ban on the entry of refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Lawyers who sued the government to block the White House order said the judge’s decision could affect an estimated 100 to 200 people who were detained upon arrival at American airports.
Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, ruled just before 9 p.m. that implementing Mr. Trump’s order by sending the travelers home could cause them “irreparable harm.” She said the government was “enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals” who had arrived in the United States with valid visas or refugee status.
The ruling does not appear to force the administration to let in people otherwise blocked by Mr. Trump’s order who have not yet traveled to the United States.
The judge’s one-page ruling came swiftly after lawyers for the A.C.L.U. testified in her courtroom that one of the people detained at an airport was being put on a plane to be deported back to Syria at that very moment. A government lawyer, Gisela A. Westwater, who spoke to the court by phone from Washington, said she simply did not know.
Hundreds of people waited outside of the courthouse chanting, “Set them free!” as lawyers made their case. When the crowd learned that Judge Donnelly had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, a rousing cheer went up in the crowd.
Minutes after the judge’s ruling in New York City, another judge, Leonie M. Brinkema of Federal District Court in Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order for a week to block the removal of any green card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport.
In a statement released early Sunday morning, the Department of Homeland Security said it would continue to enforce all of the president’s executive orders, even while complying with judicial decisions. “Prohibited travel will remain prohibited,” the department said in a statement, adding that the directive was “a first step towards re-establishing control over America’s borders and national security.”
Earlier in the day, at the White House, Mr. Trump shrugged off the sense of anxiety and disarray, suggesting that there had been an orderly rollout. “It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared,” he said. “It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”
As the New York Times editorializes today, Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Cowardly and Dangerous:
[T]he order, breathtaking in scope and inflammatory in tone, was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day spoke of the president’s callousness and indifference to history, to America’s deepest lessons about its own values.
The order lacks any logic. It invokes the attacks of Sept. 11 as a rationale, while exempting the countries of origin of all the hijackers who carried out that plot and also, perhaps not coincidentally, several countries where the Trump family does business. The document does not explicitly mention any religion, yet it sets a blatantly unconstitutional standard by excluding Muslims while giving government officials the discretion to admit people of other faiths.
The order’s language makes clear that the xenophobia and Islamophobia that permeated Mr. Trump’s campaign are to stain his presidency as well. Un-American as they are, they are now American policy.
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The unrighteousness of this new policy should be enough to prompt the courts, Congress and responsible members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet to reverse it immediately. But there is an even more compelling reason: It is extremely dangerous. Extremist groups will trumpet this order to spread the notion, today more credible than ever, that the United States is at war with Islam rather than targeting terrorists. They want nothing more than a fearful, recklessly belligerent America; so, if anything, this ban will heighten their efforts to strike at Americans, to provoke yet further overreaction from a volatile and inexperienced president.
American allies in the Middle East will reasonably question why they should cooperate with, and defer to, the United States while its top officials vilify their faith. Afghans and Iraqis currently supporting American military operations would be justified in reassessing the merits of taking enormous risks for a government that is bold enough to drop bombs on their homelands but too frightened to provide a haven to their most vulnerable compatriots, and perhaps to them as well.
Republicans in Congress who remain quiet or tacitly supportive of the ban should recognize that history will remember them as cowards.
And history will remember Trump apologists as cowards as well. The Arizona Republic’s resident GOP apologist, George Will’s mini-me Robert Robb, had the audacity to write Calm down, Trump’s immigration orders aren’t that bad in reference to Trump’s Mexico executive orders. Will this self-described “Libertarian” write a similar caption as an apologist for Trump’s Muslim travel ban and unconstitutional religious test for entry into the United States, in an attempt to normalize behavior that is radical and entirely un-American?
The Arizona Republic should be embarrassed to retain this man in their employ. As a member of the editorial board, Robb’s views reflect those of the editorial board unless clearly disclaimed. I will be watching to see how Arizona’s GOP-friendly media responds to Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional Muslim travel ban and religious test for entry into the United States.